On February 23rd, 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery went on a jog around Satilla Shores, a suburban neighborhood in Brunswick, Georgia. Mr. Arbery enjoyed running, his neighbors always saw him jogging around the neighborhood to stay fit, as he was a former football player in high school. His family described him as a "very good young man" while his father said, "His heart was always in the right place. And he just loved people."
Yesterday, Friday, May 8th would've been his 26th birthday; he should've been spending it with his family and friends, not in a casket.
A little after 1 pm on the 23rd of February, Travis McMichael and his father Gregory McMichael shot and killed Mr. Arbery after grabbing two guns and following him after they saw him run past their truck. They believed Mr. Arbery to be a suspect in a couple of burglaries prompting them to chase him down and kill him.
74 days later, on May 7th, both Travis and Gregory were arrested and charged for murder and aggravated assault after a video of Mr. Arbery's death was released on May 5th by the Arbery's family attorney. But, why did it take a video to warrant the arrest of these two men? Why was no action taken as soon as Ahmaud Arbery was dead? If this video never surfaced the internet, these men would still be walking free.
If these men truly believed Mr. Arbery to be responsible for these burglaries, where was their evidence? How were they justified in chasing an innocent man on his jog and shooting him down? I'll tell you how it was justified to them, it was justified because he was black; if he was a white man, he'd 100% be alive today. He'd be spending his 26th birthday alive.
The Brunswick News described that he was suspected of bringing a gun to a high school basketball game when he was 19; Lee Meritt, Mr. Arbery's family attorney, has mentioned his shoplifting charges and arrest in 2018, but, none of these events have nothing to do with his murder. It's a common thing in America to tarnish a black man's past to somehow sickly justify their murder.
Ahmaud Arbery was lynched on a jog around his neighborhood, he was chased down like an animal and was killed. Black men have a right to be scared for their lives as a simple activity like jogging or playing in a park is dangerous for them, they are seen as threats simply just for living their lives like everyone else. It seems as if whenever I turn on the news, a black man is dying at the hands of a racist, and nothing is done to bring justice to them or their family. When will it end?
Just yesterday, as I was looking through my Instagram stories, someone stated: "Yeah, it's nice that Ahmaud Arbery's murderers were caught, but, why are we worrying about this now? We have more important things to worry about."
To say that I was appalled is an understatement.
In Richmond Virginia, the eight people who died from coronavirus were black. Meaning 100% of deaths from COVID-19 in Richmond are black while African Americans only make up 40% of the population. Black communities across the nation are facing higher death rates than in any other community. The racism and discrimination in our health care system are causing African Americans to die at a faster rate than white people. They are left more vulnerable to the coronavirus due to the lack of health care or testing which is widely available to those in privileged communities.
Social distancing is also enforced more strictly in black communities than in white communities. A viral tweet shows two pictures side by side. The first picture is of a cop accepting some sort of item from a pair of white women in Gantry State Park, Long Island City, Queens while the other picture shows a couple of cops restraining a black man on the streets in 9th street and Avenue D, Manhattan.
So, to answer this person's question, as to why we're "worrying" about Ahmaut Arbery's death now: Racism towards African Americans will always be a prevalent issue because their lives are always at risk.